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Multi-Stan

This comprehensive 23-day tour will take you through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, offering a fascinating glimpse of a beautiful part of the world most travelers miss. A true crossroads of empires, Central Asia will have your head spinning with insights on the Mongols, the Persians, the Uzbeks, the Russians, and so much more. Stay at unique homestays, sleep in traditional yurts, discover the breathtaking mountain and desert scenery and roam gorgeous buildings built centuries ago. Beyond the incredibly rich historical sites and architectural monuments, this adventure will enlighten your understanding of Islam in its wide range of contexts and also introduce you to the region’s greatest resource—its generous and kind people!


Itinerary

July 4 : Almaty

Arrive at any time.

July 5 : Almaty (1B)

Take a city tour of Almaty including the historical center, the Zenkov Cathedral and the Monument of Independence. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Opt to climb green hill for a panoramic view or visit the local market.

July 6 : Almaty/Karakol (1B)

Drive via scenic Charyn Canyon to take in more of the Kazakh landscape. Reach the border and cross into Kyrgyzstan. Enjoy an evening in Karakol.

July 7 : Karakol/Kochkor (1B, 1D)

Visit the Prejevalskiy Museum then drive to Kizil Tuu. Stop en route for a swim in the lake. In Kizil Tuu learn how to built a yurt before continuing on to Kochkor.

July 8 : Kochkor/Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)

Visit a felt-making workshop to learn more about this typical Kyrgyz craft. Opt to pick up a carpet or two. Continue on to the scenic Song Kul area and stay overnight in a traditional yurt for a true cultural experience.

July 9 : Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)

Spend a full day soaking in this beautiful area. Opt to head out for some hiking or horseback riding. Enjoy another night in a yurt.

July 10 : Ozero Sonkël’/Chong-Kemin (1B)

Continue on into the scenic valley of Chong-Kemin. Stay in the local CBT (community based tourism) houses and explore the village. Soak in the stunning scenery.

July 11 : Chong-Kemin/Bishkek/Almaty (1B)

Depart Chong-Kemin and stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower. Learn more about the ancient structure (rare in a nomadic culture) before continuing on to the capital city of Bishkek for an afternoon city tour. We will then fly to Almaty.

July 12 : Almaty/Dushanbe (1B)

Take a flight to to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Enjoy an evening in the city.

July 13 : Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1D)

Visit some sights in the capital city of Dushanbe, including museums, monuments and the main mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains of the area for an overnight in local homes in the stunningly beautiful Iskanderkul area. Meet the locals and explore this gorgeous landscape in the Fann Mountains.

July 14 : Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1L, 1D)

Spend a full day exploring. Opt to hike in the mountains to an impressive waterfall. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village.

July 15 : Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khŭjand (1B)

Continue on to Istaravshan and visit an ancient settlement in Ura-Tube. Visit a fortress stormed by Alexander the Great. Learn more about the history of this place and soak in the view over the city. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before driving to Khujand. Explore the city in the afternoon, visiting the museum and a mausoleum.

July 16 : Khŭjand/Tashkent (1B)

Visit the Khujand market (largest in Tajikistan) before continuing on to the border. Cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.

July 17 : Tashkent (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore.

July 18 : Tashkent/Samarkand (1B)

Travel on to Samarkand. Take an orientation walk and opt to visit the Amir Timur Mausoleum.

July 19 : Samarkand (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a city tour and visit to the Registan. Opt to check out the Guri Amir Mausoleum, Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, and the Registan minarets. Use some free time to wander the bazaar or visit more sights before indulging in dinner with a local family, complete with a plov-making demo.

July 20 : Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp (1B, 1D)

Travel out into the desert to visit the Nurata Shrine and remains of the Alexander the Great fortress. Continue on for an evening in a local yurt camp. Opt to ride a camel or enjoy an evening Kazakh singing show.

July 21 : Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara (1B)

Travel to Bukhara, one of the most charming cities in the country. Opt to visit the old city bazaars, have dinner with a local family, or visit a traditional hammam (bathhouse).

July 22 : Bukhara (1B)

Take a half-day guided walk around the beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets that make up the Old City.

July 23 : Bukhara/Khiva (1B)

Enjoy a full day's travel through the Kyzyl Kum desert to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva. Get to know the place on a late afternoon walking tour.

July 24 : Khiva/Tashkent (1B)

Enjoy a guided tour of the city with free time to experience the local life. Opt to browse the shops, wander the lanes, examine handmade silk rugs, or sit in a café in this ancient historical town. Later, take an overnight train to Tashkent, traveling alongside the locals.

July 25 : Tashkent

Arrive back in Tashkent and enjoy a city tour or explore on your own with some free time. Optional visits to history museum, fine arts museum, mosques, or bazaars.

July 26 : Tashkent (1B)

Depart Tashkent at any time.

Detailed Itinerary

July 4 : Almaty

Arrive at any time. Our program will begin tonight in Almaty and we typically have a group meeting at the hotel around 6 PM. Upon arrival at the hotel please check the notice board for information about the group meeting. During the group meeting the leader will outline the trip itinerary and answer questions.

July 5 : Almaty (1B)

Take a city tour of Almaty including the historical center, the Zenkov Cathedral and the Monument of Independence. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore. Opt to climb green hill for a panoramic view or visit the local market.

July 6 : Almaty/Karakol (1B)

Drive via scenic Charyn Canyon to take in more of the Kazakh landscape. Breathe the fresh air and snap a few photos of this stunning landscape. Reach the border and cross into Kyrgyzstan. Enjoy an evening in Karakol.

Estimated Travel time: 7 hours by private vehicle.

July 7 : Karakol/Kochkor (1B, 1D)

Today we start by visiting a fascinating museum dedicated to the Russian explorer Nikolai Przhevalsky. The museum offers insight into his life and travels and displays some of the flora and fauna species endemic to the area. Then drive to Kizil Tuu with a stop en route for a swim in the lake. In Kizil Tuu learn how to build a yurt (portable nomadic tent) and hear a bit about life for nomads in the region. We then continue on to Kochkor.

Estimated Travel time: 5 hours by private vehicle.

July 8 : Kochkor/Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)

Visit a felt-making workshop to learn more about this typical Kyrgyz craft. Opt to pick up a carpet or two. Continue on to the scenic Song Kul area and stay overnight in a traditional yurt for a true cultural experience. Get comfortable in this multi-share round tent and cozy up by the stove. Experience daily life of the nomads and sample some of their delicious cuisine.

Estimated Travel time: 2.5 hours by private vehicle.

July 9 : Ozero Sonkël’ (1B, 1L, 1D)

Spend a full day soaking in this beautiful area. Opt to head out for some hiking or horseback riding. Enjoy another night in a yurt.

July 10 : Ozero Sonkël’/Chong-Kemin (1B)

Continue on into the scenic valley of Chong-Kemin. Enjoy an overnight in some local village houses. Community Based Tourism helps villagers turn their houses into homestays. Savor home cooked food and make the most of time to wander the village.

Estimated Travel time: 4 hours by private vehicle.

July 11 : Chong-Kemin/Bishkek/Almaty (1B)

We depart Chong-Kemin and stop at one of Kyrgyzstan's oldest sights, the Burana Tower. Climb the stairs to check out the view from the top. A large minaret about 80km from Bishkek, along with some grave markers and remnants of a castle and mausoleums, are all that remains of the 9th century city of Balasagun. Learn more about the ancient structure (rare in a nomadic culture) before continuing on to the capital city of Bishkek for an afternoon city tour. Check out some of the main highlights of this Soviet-esque capital city. Learn about the history of the city and daily life. We will then fly to Almaty.

Estimated Travel time: 1.5 hours by private vehicle.

July 12 : Almaty/Dushanbe (1B)

Take a flight to to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Enjoy an evening in the city.

Estimated Travel time: 1.5 hours by plane.

July 13 : Dushanbe/Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1D)

Visit some sights in the capital city of Dushanbe, including museums, monuments and the main mosque. After lunch, drive through the valleys and mountains of the area for an overnight in local homes in the stunningly beautiful Iskanderkul area. Meet the locals and explore this gorgeous landscape in the Fann Mountains.

Estimated Travel time: 2 hours by private vehicle.

July 14 : Kŭli Iskandarkŭl (1B, 1L, 1D)

Spend a full day exploring. Opt to hike in the mountains to an impressive waterfall. After a picnic lunch, return to Sarytag village.

July 15 : Kŭli Iskandarkŭl/Khŭjand (1B)

Continue on to Istaravshan and visit an ancient settlement in Ura-Tube. Visit a fortress stormed by Alexander the Great. Learn more about the history of this place and soak in the view over the city. Enjoy an optional lunch in a local chaikhana (teahouse) before driving to Khujand. Explore the city in the afternoon, visiting the museum and a mausoleum.

Estimated Travel time: 3.5 hours by private vehicle.

July 16 : Khŭjand/Tashkent (1B)

Visit the market in Khujand. It's the largest in Tajikistan and a great example of a typical Central Asian market. Enjoy browsing what's for sale and opt to sample a few of the local delicacies. before continuing on to the border. We then cross into Uzbekistan and drive to the capital city of Tashkent. Enjoy a short orientation walk in the evening before an optional dinner.

Estimated Travel time: 3 hours by private vehicle.

July 17 : Tashkent (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore Tashkent, which is a city with an interesting mix of mosques, mud houses and Soviet architecture deep in the middle of Eurasia. Catch the metro out to Chorsu Bazaar to buy freshly-picked fruit or take in a ballet or opera at the Alisher Navoi Theater. You will also have some free time in Tashkent at the end of the trip.

July 18 : Tashkent/Samarkand (1B)

This morning a private transfer takes us to Samarkand.

Explore the mosaic-covered madrassas and open spaces of the spectacular Registan, once the heart of Uzbek learning. One of the oldest cities in the world, Samarkand remains one of the most attractive in Central Asia despite a turbulent history of war and earthquakes. The city blossomed under Amir Timur (Known in the West as Tamerlane), a tyrannical 14th-century ruler. A lover of art, Timur was responsible for the colorful domes and exquisite minarets that now form the city's evocative skyline. While Samarkand fell into disrepair during its Soviet days, restoration is slowly progressing and we take a look at some of the city's most impressive works of art such as the spectacular Registan. This impressive collection of buildings is probably the most recognizable of all of Central Asia's monuments.

Estimated Travel time: 6 hours by private vehicle.

July 19 : Samarkand (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a city tour and visit to the Registan. Opt to check out the Guri Amir Mausoleum, Tomb of the Prophet Daniel, and the Registan minarets. Use some free time to wander the bazaar or visit more sights before indulging in dinner with a local family, complete with a plov-making demo.

July 20 : Samarkand/Aydar Kŭl Camp (1B, 1D)

Today a private transfer will take us to Nurata (4-hour drive) where we will visit the remains of the military Fortress of Alexander the Great & Holy Chashma (Spring) of Nurata.

Proceed to the nearby Aydar Kŭl Camp which is located in the picturesque Nurata mountain range for a chance to stay in traditional felt yurts and experience the way of life in the remote reaches of Uzbekistan. Opt to ride a camel or enjoy an evening Kazakh singing show.

Estimated Travel time: 4 hours by private vehicle.

July 21 : Aydar Kŭl Camp/Bukhara (1B)

Today we will drive across the desert to the ancient city of Bukhara (about 4 hours) - one of most famous destinations on the Ancient Silk Road.

Estimated Travel time: 4 hours by private vehicle.

July 22 : Bukhara (1B)

This morning we have an included city tour with a local guide to visit the Samanid Mausoleum, the Ark Citadel, and the Minaret Kalyan complex. Walk around beautifully restored mosques, madrassas, and covered markets that make up the Old City.

There is plenty of time to explore the artisan shops and wander the narrow twisting streets and alleyways. A center for pottery, cloth and Turkmen carpets, the old city is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees, where you can sit at cafe tables and let the evening drift by. There is also the option to take in a local puppet show held in an old caravanserai or indulge in a Turkish bath.

Some optional activities include:

Lyabi-Hauz Visit (Bukhara)
A centre for pottery, cloth, and Turkmen carpets, the old city is centered around Lyabi-Hauz, a delightful pool of water surrounded by ancient mulberry trees, where you can sit at cafe tables and let the evening drift by.

Hammam (Bathhouse) Visit (Bukhara)
There are a few hammam choices in the city and they are often gender specific. Depending on the day of the week and when you want to go, your tour leader can advise you on some options.

Carpet Museum (Bukhara)
The Magok-i Attari Mosque (Museum of Carpets) offers information about the art of carpet making and some fine examples to boot. Perhaps more impressively, the building the museum is located in was once used for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian services, demonstrating the diversity and open-mindedness of this intriguing city.

Jewish Area and Synagogue Visit (Bukhara)
Bukhara has a fascinating Jewish history, with Bukharan Jews speaking a Turkic-Persian dialect with a Hebrew script. The city once was home to 40,000 Jews and now has a community of about 25-30 families. The synagogue is well worth a visit and houses a Torah that is roughly 1,000 years old.

July 23 : Bukhara/Khiva (1B)

Enjoy a full day's travel through the Kyzyl Kum desert to reach UNESCO-listed Khiva. Get to know the place on a late afternoon walking tour.

Estimated Travel time: 8 hours by private vehicle.

July 24 : Khiva/Tashkent (1B)

In the 19th century, Khiva was a center of the mighty Khiva Khanate, which hosted the most famous slave market on the Silk Road - nowadays, it's one of the best preserved ancient cities in the region. Explore the old town surrounded by city walls, bargain with locals in the market and see the town from the top of the Friday Mosque's Minaret. Don't forget to have a look at the amazing tiles in the yards of Tash Khauli Khan's Palace. Experience the sand-colored brick structures populating the inner walls of the Ichon-Qala, wander through the madrassas, clamber up minarets, and explore the dark dungeons Khiva was infamous for back in the 10th century.

We have a guided tour of the city, followed by free time to experience the amazing local life - browse the shops, wander the lanes, examine handmade silk rugs, sit in a cafe drinking tea or enjoy a cold beer in this ancient historical town.

In the evening, we take an overnight train to Tashkent, traveling alongside the locals.

Estimated travel time: Overnight by train in sleeper car with beds

July 25 : Tashkent

Visit the city's highlights with a local guide. Ride the Russian-esque metro and visit the religious center of the city and Koran Museum. Wander the neighbourhood streets and learn about daily life and history of the city and the Uzbek people.

July 26 : Tashkent (1B)

Depart Tashkent at any time.

Want more adventure? Book two or more GEEO trips in the same year and receive a discount! GEEO will give you 10% off of the lesser value program(s) (up to 3 programs). Find out which programs pair well with this trip by clicking here.

If you don’t see a program that interests you that pairs with this trip, but still would like to extend your time abroad, let us know. We will work with you to find a non-teacher trip from our tour operator’s much larger catalog. Even better, if you are an educator we can offer still offer you a discounted price on the trip you choose!

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

We want to emphasize the cancellation policy:

All cancellations must be submitted to GEEO in written form by emailing your request for cancellation to jesse@geeo.org. If you do not receive a confirmation that we have received your written cancellation request, please call us at 1-877-600-0105. Verbal cancellation requests will not be honored.

* Cancellation 60 days or more prior to departure = Deposit is kept on file for future use and all other program fee payments are refunded

* Cancellation between 30 and 59 days prior to departure = 50% refund and your deposit is kept on file for future use

* Cancellation within 30 days of departure = No refund, but your deposit is kept on file for future use

Trip Notes

1. In general Central Asia is a cash operating region, travelers checks are not recommended, credit cards can be used in Uzbekistan. Due to bank restrictions, only banknotes printed after 1996 can be exchanged. Better to bring notes without marks or stamps on them. We recommend to bring about 70 USD in small denominations: 1, 5 and 10 USD notes. If you are not able to get local currency it's always possible to pay in USD or EUR

There are lots of ATM's to withdraw local currency (UZS), and banks around to exchange USD or EUR. Travelers checks are not recommended, as only limited amount of banks work with them. Please, note that you can withdraw only local currency from ATM's. Some banks in Tashkent allow USD cash advance, but this option depends on the amount of USD cash in the bank.

Every traveler is different and therefore spending money requirements vary a lot. As a guideline, we recommend to bring about $230 - 290 USD for Uzbekistan (it will cover meals and souvenirs and occasional optional activity). In the countries that operate cash only it's always better to have extra cash than end up in the situation when you can not withdraw any money from ATM because there are no working ATM's.

2. Central Asia is a region which may be very different to anything you have experienced before. The mixture of Soviet heritage and Islam, summer heat, religious conservatism, traffic and crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During your time here you will come to love this wonderfully different country but know that you should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.

3. Though you can see lots of people in traditional clothes, Central Asia has adopted western style clothing as well. Don't hesitate to pack your usual travel clothing: in the summer it can be shorts and T-shorts, sandals etc. We recommend to forget about singlets, tank tops and any types of clothes with bare shoulders and backs - it is unacceptable in most areas, and even in big cities. Our tours take us to many religious sights, where dress code is very strict. We recommend women to have a headscarf in their bags - to cover their head when going inside mosques (it's also a great help in the heat in summer). Best things to pack for hot Central Asian climate are loose, long clothing - long trousers and sarongs or long skirts for women.

A participant in 2013 told us you can wear shorts in Uzbekistan everywhere except into mosques, and there you're OK as long as your knees are covered. (Men too - board shorts or the tragic man-pris are ideal here)."

4. This trip operates at altitudes over 800m (max altitude 2200m). Whilst we travel slowly allowing plenty of time to acclimatize you may experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, especially when visiting Iskanderkul. It is important to be aware of the affects of altitude on one's tolerance especially on long driving days.

Service Level

Standard:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. Most nights will have you staying in a simple yet clean twin-share hotel or lodge rooms with private facilities, complete with running water and electricity. Occasionally you may have a multi-share night at rustic local guesthouses, with communal bathrooms and the sporadic cold shower. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

3:

May include moderate hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and other activities that require only an average/moderate level of fitness to enjoy.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to handle your own luggage. You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking) and up and down stairs. Luggage space is limited so again, smaller is better.

Most travelers carry a large multi-day backpack or rolling suitcase of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). In general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 40 to 65 liters. If you are asking us for our suggestion, we would recommend a backpack over a rolling suitcase. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like smartphones.

Suggested Checklist

•Clothes for Mosques – (shorts that go below the knees, shirts that cover shoulders, headscarves for women)
•Light windproof/waterproof jacket (Chances are it won't rain)
•Small towel and swimwear
•Sun hat
•Personal clothing for mild to hot weather (We recommend packing 10 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry twice. For women we recommend clothing that covers knees and shoulders.)
•Day pack
•Sturdy walking shoes (Running shoes are fine too)
•Sport sandals
•Sunblock
•Sunglasses
•Toiletries (biodegradable)
•Watch or alarm clock
•Water bottle
•Flashlight or headlamp
•Wash cloth (If you normally use a washcloth at home as most hotels do not have them.)
•Money belt
•Camera
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine,
Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect
repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Please note tampons can be hard to find in this region

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (Hearos Xtreme Protection 33 decibel ear plugs are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Reading/writing material
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes
•Fruit bars/granola bars, crackers and ramen
•Umbrella (For the sun, not rain)
•Probiotics (Good for avoiding stomach issues)

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•2 passport photos for Tajikistan visa
•Visa (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•EUR/USD cash
•Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Single Travellers

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Nights 5, 6, & 17: Yurt stays (shared)
Nights 10, & 11: CBT home stays (shared)
Night 21: Sleeper train

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, and tipping. Please look at our “Costs” tab when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

In general Central Asia is a cash operating region, and travelers checks are not recommended. Due to bank restrictions, only banknotes printed after 1996 can be exchanged. Better to bring notes without marks or stamps on them. We recommend to bring about 70 USD in small denominations: 1, 5 and 10 USD notes. If you are not able to get local currency it's always possible to pay in USD or EUR.

Uzbekistan
There are lots of ATM's to withdraw local currency (UZS), and banks around to exchange USD or EUR. Travelers checks are not recommended, as only limited amount of banks work with them. Please, note that you can withdraw only local currency (Uzbek Sums) from ATM's. Some banks in Tashkent allow USD cash advance, but this option depends on the amount of USD cash in the bank.

Kazakhstan
The preferred currency for local transactions is the tenge, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. ATMs in Kazakhstan are accessible in the larger cities, and withdrawals can be made by credit card. There are many currency exchange locations available to exchange EUR, USD, GBP, Russian rouble, Kyrgyz som and Chinese yuan.

Kyrgyzstan
The preferred currency for local transactions is the som, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. There are many of ATMs accessible in Bishkek and other larger cities such as Cholpon Ata and Karakol. Larger cities will also have money exchange locations that will trade EUR, USD, Roubles; some locations will trade GBP, and Chinese yuan.

Tajikistan
The preferred currency for local transactions is the somoni, and local establishments rarely accept credit cards so keep cash on hand. You may be able to pay in USD and EUR in some places, however, it is recommended that you take out somoni at ATMs in Dushanbe; there are very few ATMs outside of Dushanbe, and those that exist are less dependable.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Samarkand

Ulugbek Observatory - 3 USD
Tomb of Daniel - 2 USD
Davlat Museum - 3 USD
Minaret - 6 USD
Meal in Local house - 15 USD
Amir Timur Mausoleum Visit- 5 USD

Bukhara

Hammam - traditional bath house - 25-30 USD
Puppet show - 25 USD
Meal in Local House - 9-15 USD

Khiva

Minaret - 5 USD

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. Just breakfasts and a few dinners are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$2849 USD

Non-Educator Fee

GEEO program fee for Non-Educators: $100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

$50-$150 USD

International Airfare from USA

Roughly $1500-$2500 USD
If you require assistance in booking your international airfare we would be happy to assist you. Just email air@gadventures.com for more information. Also see our FAQ for flight advice.

Insurance

$25-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance as well.

See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

$60-$80 USD for your G Adventures Tour leader. Another $80 should cover local guides and drivers on other activities.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

$350-$500 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

Make sure you budget for these types of expenses

Airport and Departure Taxes

This is usually included in your flight price.

Vaccines

(It all depends on what you don’t have already/what your insurance covers.)

Visa

Uzbekistan's visa costs $160 USD for Americans. Tajikistan's visa costs $50. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan do no require visas for Americans. (Check with your local embassy if you are not American.)

Souvenirs

$0-????

FAQ

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on traveling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe, well-located place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury as we are trying to keep these trips as inexpensive as possible. Sometimes the accommodation is not air conditioned.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. Many countries require that your passport not expire within six months of your arrival in that country. Please take the time to look up the passport validity requirements for the country/countries you are visiting on this trip by clicking here.

If you have a U.S. passport, but it has expired, or will expire within 6 months of trip departure, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.
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Americans do not need a visa for Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
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The Tajikistan Government have an electronic visa (e-Visa) process. This replaces the physical visa that was issued on arrival. You do not need to mail your passport anywhere for an E-Visa as it is all done online. E-Visas are available for all nationalities, and can be purchased for $50 by clicking on the following link: https://www.evisa.tj/index.evisa.html

According to the embassy you can apply 3 months in advance of arrival, so I would recommend waiting until this Thursday or Friday at the earliest. It seems like you can apply up until 2 days before your arrival, but I would not push it that far. I would apply at least a month in advance.

You will need a scan of the picture/info page of your passport, so make sure you have that on your computer before starting the application.

These are some of the answers you will need for your application:

Purpose of Visit Type: Tourism
Purpose of Visit: Tourism Sightseeing
GBAO Permit: No
Entry: Single

Group identifier: Panjakent Intour/ G Adventures

Date of Arrival: July 12th, 2017
Address in Tajikstan: Lotus Hotel 1-proezd Lohuti 5 street, Dushanbe

I called the embassy and I do not believe you need the optional "Petition letter of the tourist organization."
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Americans need to purchase a visa for travel to Uzbekistan. Instructions for the visa process can be found here. The cost for a US citizen is $160 for the required tourist visa.

In the past Americans needed to apply for their visas at either the NY Consulate or the DC embassy depending on which state they lived in. From my discussion with the embassy staff all applications can be sent to the DC embassy which has the following address:

Consular Section
Embassy of Uzbekistan
1746 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Tel: (202) 530-7291
Fax: (202) 202-9633
E-mail: consul@uzbekistan.org
Website: www.uzbekistan.org

You will need to send the embassy the following:

1) Required documentation:

1. One duly completed and signed Visa Application Form. (see "Visa Form" below)
2. Valid original passport (You are sending them your actual passport just to be clear)
3. Copy of passport (Just a black and white xerox of the information page that has your picture on it)
4. One passport size color photo
5. Those applying by mail must include USPS, FedEx or UPS pre-paid self-addressed return envelope.
6. Visa fee for U.S. Citizens:

10 business days processing ("usual") - US $ 160.00 (Most of you should go for this option unless you are in a time crunch)
4 business days processing ("urgent") - US $ 240.00

The Consular Section only accepts Money Orders, Postal Money Orders, Cashier's Checks and Certified Checks. Visa fee is non-refundable.

2) The visa application is online:
http://evisa.mfa.uz/evisa_en

You will need to fill out the form on your computer and then they will allow you to download it into a PDF which you then download, print, sign, and send to the embassy by mail with the materials we listed above.

There is a section for loading a photo that doesn't seem to work. I believe you can skip that.

Route of transiting through the territory of Uzbekistan (choose from the following list no more than 5 points): Select Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara,

Purpose of visit: "tourism; participating in G Adventures program "Central Asia – Multi-Stan Adventure"

Inviting party: is a required field to complete the form, but American passport holders don't need this, so put "n/a."

Address in Uzbekistan: As per G Adventures web site, use the joining hotel:

Hotel Uzbekistan
45, Musakhanov str.,
Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 100047

+998 71 113 11 11

Accompanied Persons: Put "None"

Occupation: This a tricky one as they have pretty specific entries, but nothing that would apply to most professions, including teachers. They told me all of our participants should choose "Employees of Government Structures" unless one of the other categories applies to them. Again, I had them double check with the consular section and also deliver the message that they really should have an "other" option. They did confirm that we can enter "Employees of Government Structures."

Non-American participants should check with their government to find out if they need a visa.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive to Almaty International Airport, you will have several options to get to the Otrar Hotel.

If you are taking a taxi, we always recommend printing out the address of the hotel (in the native language as well as English if available), to show to your taxi driver.

Once you exit from the customs area there will be a lot of drivers offering taxi services, but on the ground floor there is also an Information Desk where you can get assistance with arranging an official taxi service.

If you are using public transit, once you exit the airport you can take bus #79 and get off at the Panfilov Park bus stop. The Otrar Hotel will be on the opposite side of the park.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with GEEO are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who can join you on your trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with, GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. Most of our trips have a "My Own Room" option, also known as a "Single Supplement" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself. If you want to room alone, please email jesse@geeo.org. To see the price for the "My Own Room" option, please click here where you can look up your trip in the extra services spreadsheet.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions: Nights 5, 6, & 17: Yurt stays (shared)
Nights 10, & 11: CBT home stays (shared)
Night 21: Sleeper train

What is group travel like?

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of traveling in a group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from all across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travelers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Each educator who participates in our programs is permitted to bring along up to three friends or family members who are not teachers. Each participant must be of adequate fitness level for their chosen trip. If you wish to bring a guest under the age of 18 GEEO will consider your request, but typically we only allow participants over the age of 18.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. 2013 was the first year that we offered an Uzbekistan program. We will offer the Multi-Stan trip for the first time in 2017. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running trips in the region for several years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1600 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Almaty by, which would usually mean departing the USA two days prior. You can arrive at any time you choose. The trip ends in Tashkent and you may fly out anytime you wish on the departure day.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

The least expensive travel health insurance plan that we have found is the International Teacher Identity Card, better known as the ITIC Card. They have a $25 card that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. The card will also get you discounts and benefits in over 125,000 locations, including many museums and hotels. Another great thing about the ITIC Card is that it covers you for an entire year and can be used for all your travel during that period, including domestic travel.

GEEO has reached an agreement with the makers of this card to pre-approve all GEEO travelers, so you do not need to submit paperwork proving that you are a teacher. Also, non-teachers who are traveling with GEEO can get this same card, which normally is only for teachers.

To sign up for the card please follow this link:

www.myisic.com/orders/GEEO

While not required, we also highly recommend purchasing cancellation insurance! The $199 Explorer ITIC Card comes with $3000 of cancellation insurance, which is also valid for multiple trips (domestic and international) within a one year period. Even if you don't use the cancellation insurance on your GEEO trip, you might end up needing it for travel expenses relating to a conference!

Please note: The ITIC card is for American residents. If you are not American or are an American living abroad, please email us and we can go over your options.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations and are sometimes higher than tickets found on Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

Is it OK if I arrive a few days early or stay a few days late?

You may want to arrive a few days early at the start of the trip or stay a few days extra at the end of trip. Please feel free to do so.

We will send out an email to all participants in April with information on which hotels we will be using for the start and end of the trip as well how to go about booking them.

When should I purchase my flights?

This program is guaranteed to run, so you may purchase your flights as soon as you book the trip and receive a welcome email from GEEO.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. However, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, infectious hepatitis and polio. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

Though you can see lots of people in traditional clothes, Central Asia has adopted western style clothing as well. Don't hesitate to pack your usual travel clothing: in the summer it can be shorts and T-shorts, sandals etc. We recommend to forget about singlets, tank tops and any types of clothes with bare shoulders and backs - it is unacceptable in most areas, and even in big cities. Our tours take us to many religious sights, where dress code is very strict. We recommend women to have a headscarf in their bags - to cover their head when going inside mosques (it's also a great help in the heat in summer). Best things to pack for hot Central Asian climate are loose, long clothing - long trousers and sarongs or long skirts for women.

A participant in 2013 told us you can wear shorts in Uzbekistan everywhere except into mosques, and there you're OK as long as your knees are covered. (Men too - board shorts or the tragic man-pris are ideal here)."

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local G Adventures office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

G Adventures Office Central Asia:

Mr. Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager - Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +998 90 134 7888 (24h)
Mobile 2: +998 97 921 7087 (24h)

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office they have a toll-free line within North America (or our regular direct line), which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at any time your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

Central Asia primarily uses a type C plug, which is the same two circular prong plug you find in most of Europe. Their voltage is 220 Volts.

U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

What is the weather like?

Summer in this part of Central Asia is long, hot and dry. You should expect daytime temperatures in the 80's and 90's F and nighttime temperatures in 60's and 70's F. Often we have a packed early morning schedule and then a siesta in the afternoons to avoid the worst of the heat.

What is the transportation like?

We use an air-conditioned private vehicle throughout this trip with a driver. We have one night on an overnight train at the end of the trip.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

Central Asia in general is mostly on a cash-only economy, both in terms of spending while there as well as bringing money. Apparently there are very few ATMs that are hooked up to the outside world, so participants need to know to bring everything they plan to spend in cash -- pristine, new dollar bills (1996 series or later), or Euros. Pounds are not as widely changeable as dollars and Euros. We recommend bringing $900 in USD cash plus whatever you want to spend on souvenirs. Usually 50 and 100 USD/EUR notes get better exchange rate. We recommend to bring smaller denominations of USD as well (At least 70 USD in small denominations: 1, 5 and 10 USD notes)- many vendors accept them if you don't have local currency.

In a quick pinch, some banks can arrange a cash advance off of a credit card, but you'll lose time trying to find a bank that will do it. The other problem is that they'll dispense cash at the official exchange rate, which is well below the black market rate; you'll lose buying power because most merchants who calculate costs in dollars do so at the black market rate.
Carpet shops take credit cards; everywhere else you should plan to spend cash.

Travelers checks are not recommended, as only limited amount of banks work with them.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:

"To those interested in purchasing silk carpets traveling this route, the UNESCO carpet workshop in Khiva does NOT take credit cards! You must pay in cash!"

"Bring an umbrella. And a good hat. Lots of sunscreen. And bring something that will help moisten your nose (I used carmex). Worked pretty well! Lot of tissues or wet wipes. Emphasize the "cash only" economy. "

"We could have been better prepared with a traveler's package of dehydration salts and antibiotics for stomach issues. Imodium is not enough."

"You need a flashlight for the yurt camp to find your way to the bathroom."

"Unfortunately, you will probably get diarrhea. Most people in our group had some stomach issues. A few more seasoned travelers brought probiotic supplements with them and took them every day...they never got sick"

"I know it can be scary looking at the expected temperatures but it is bearable and most of the guided tours take place in the morning and early afternoon so you can rest and cool off when it is the hottest outside."

"It is in the itinerary and we are adults who know these were oasis towns, but I think it could be made a little clearer that a participant will spend every other or 3rd day on long bus rides. Secondly, what a meat culture it is, and that there are few options for vegetarians. Even many of the salads include meats. "

Do you have advice on tipping?

In Central Asia it is not customary to tip service providers such as waiters, but it is very appreciated, depending on the service we recommend 3-5%. Tipping shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-$3 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

Will I be there for Ramadan?

This trip will NOT place during Ramadan. So you know, these countries are not terribly conservative. If you were there during Ramadan you would be just as likely to see locals eating and drinking instead of fasting.

Here is an article about Ramadan in Uzbekistan.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent 501c3 non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO has chosen to work with the tour operator G Adventures. We discount their prices for our participants so they are even more affordable for teachers. GEEO also is able to get our participants humanitarian rate airfare and discounted travel health insurance. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teachers' experience into the classroom. GEEO provides each participant with a Professional Development Certificate. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 25 years, G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics, and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

2849.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: 3

Book now

This program is guaranteed to run and will have a maximum of 16 participants.

What's Included

  • City tour (Almaty)
    Charyn Canyon stop
    Karakol city tour (half-day)
    Yurt building presentation (Kizil Tuu)
    Felt-making workshop visit
    Yurt stay (Song Kul)
    Community-based tourism (CBT) stay
    Burana Tower visit
    Half-day city tour (Bishkek)
    Dushanbe city tour
    Local home stay (Iskanderkul, 2 nts)
    Hikes and picnic lunch
    Mug Teppe settlement visit (Ura-Tube)
    City tour (Khujand)
    Khujand market visit
    City tour (Tashkent)
    Orientation walk (Samarkand)
    City tour including a Registan visit
    Plov-making demonstration and dinner with a local family
    Nurata Shrine visit
    Alexander the Great fortress visit
    Desert yurt stay (Aydar Kŭl)
    Guided walking tour (half-day, Bukhara)
    Walking tours (Khiva)
    Internal flight

  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities. Mostly by taxis, private vehicles, planes and trains.

  • Standard hotels/guesthouses (15 nts), yurts (3 nts), CBT homestays (3 nts), sleeper train (1 nt).

  • 21 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 7 dinners
    (Allow USD 350-500 for meals not included.)

  • G Adventures Tour Leader throughout, local guides

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Travel Health Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions

  • Airport Transfers, unless otherwise mentioned in inclusions.

  • Cancellation Insurance